Avoid bloating this Christmas

Christmas puddingBy Melanie Simcock, Nutritional Therapist

We’ve all been there; feeling bloated on January the 1st with a strong desire to hibernate for the rest of the winter.  The party season is drawing to a close and the only thing we’ve exercised over the past fortnight is a little plastic card!  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  With a little forethought and planning we can have a great time and still greet the New Year with vigour.  How?  Well it may seem strange but…..

Decide when Christmas is going to begin

Each year the festive season gets earlier.  Our summer tans haven’t even begun to fade before the Christmas goodies are appearing on the supermarket shelves.  So make a conscious decision not to slip any mince pies and the like into the trolley before say 20th December (you decide the date).  The same goes for Christmas confectionery.

Last year I found empty chocolate tree decorations in the cupboard – they hadn’t even made it to the tree!  So this year they won’t make it to my trolley until a few days before Christmas; saving me pounds in more ways than one.  Ok some may feel that this is a little harsh, but if we have these goodies for weeks before Christmas we pile on the pounds and they stop being special to the festive season.

So how do we take the sting out of the party season whilst still having fun?

Try some of my Party Tips:

  • Eat a little before going to the party; couple of pieces of fruit or small bowl of cereal.  Then you won’t go mad over the calorie laden canapés when you arrive.
  • Drink a good tumbler of water before going out.  This will stop you using alcoholic drinks as thirst quenchers.
  • Match every alcoholic drink with either a glass of water or fruit juice.  This will keep down the calories as well as keeping you hydrated and reducing the hangover.
  • Enjoy the party food but handle with care calorie laden foods such as full fat cheeses, crisps, salted peanuts.  Listen to your body and know when you’ve had enough.
  • Before retiring to bed drink a tumbler of water to rehydrate the body.

Delicious and nutritious are not mutually exclusive.  We can have festive fayre which is light on the hips and arteries but still tastes great.

My cooking tips:

1. Cook your turkey on a rack allowing the fat to run free.  Avoid eating the highly calorific skin.
Dry roast potatoes and parsnips – boil for 5 mins, drain and shake vigorously in the pan.  Place in ready heated roasting tin with a little olive oil and fresh herbs and pop into hot oven for 40 mins – delicious!
2. Don’t skip breakfast.  Make it a special ‘Christmas fruit platter’ with fruits you consider a treat.  This will provide essential nutrients and keep you from diving into the chocs before lunch.

3. Soups are very welcoming and nutritious, especially after returning from a winter walk.  Try pumpkin soup: place chunks of pumpkin, onion and garlic in roasting tin and drizzle over little olive oil.  When roasted whiz up in a liquidiser with some vegetable stock until smooth.  Serve warm with a little plain yogurt and crusty bread.  This soup is always popular with children.

Roast a batch of colourful vegetables; fennel, all colours of peppers, courgettes, red onions, garlic etc., with a little olive oil and few sprigs of rosemary.  This makes a delicious and colourful main course when mixed with a little cooked pasta and olives or a great accompaniment to left over meats.  The rosemary emits a wonderful aroma as it cooks.

4. Place healthy treats around the home to encourage festive nibblers; bowls of plump satsumas, nuts in their shells, crudités with variety of houmous dips etc.

And so to the thorny question of exercise

We do not have to resort to pumping iron at the gym to stave off that January feeling but being a couch potato for the festive season isn’t going to have us zinging into the New Year either.   Just half an hour each day walking in the fresh air is an excellent tonic for festive tensions and may even get you out of the washing up!

So enjoy the festive season whatever it holds for you and if all else fails then give me a call in the New Year and I will help to get you back in shape.  Melanie Simcock,  www.mjsnutrition.co.uk, melanie.simcock@btinternet.com, 01483 300368.

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